I was using a yarn that came wound on a spool but without a means of controlling the yarn, the yarn was sliding the end of the spool and it was becoming an uncontrollable mess. An empty CD container was sitting on my table waiting to be thrown away when it occurred to me that it could solve my yarn problem.
I drilled a hole in the top and taped a wire loop to the inside of the container. The wire acts as a yarn guide so that the yarn does not go straight up to the hole. I found that way causes the yarn to wind around the spindle at the top. Having the yarn guided to the side first, then up to the hole makes the yarn pull off smoothly with no tangling around the spindle.
A small hole at the top was made which was just big enough to allow the yarn to go through.
The hole has a little crack radiating from it due to drilling into the plastic with a bit that was not very sharp so I put too much pressure on the plastic, causing it to crack. Drilling the hole also left little burrs of plastic around the edge of the hole , so I heated up a tapestry needle with a match (holding the needle with a pair of pliers is a good idea as the needle gets hot) and ran it through the hole to melt and smooth out the edges of the hole so the yarn would glide through without catching. In hindsight, I should have made the hole with a heated needle to start with and not used the drill, therefore no crack and no burrs.
The yarn guide is just a piece of wire bent into a loop and taped to the inside of the container about midway up on the same side as the hole. A bent paper clip would work well, but I had some other wire nearby at the time. The tape is electrical tape because it is sticky and I knew where to find it, but I am sure duct tape would work well too.
So, for no cost, I have a nice dispenser for yarn that comes on a spool.
I think that for some of my messy yarn balls, I might try rewinding them onto spools so that I can use them in my new dispenser.